Can you make money from publishing on Amazon

Over 1.1 million writers have now downloaded over 1. 4 million book on to Amazon, that’s   about 5,000 a day with 1000 new writers joining daily.

 Of course not all of these authors will earn a reasonable amount of money and some will not even earn £1o in total sales. Some of these books are short stories, so will sell for a very low price. Others might have plenty of free downloads with the KDP select programme, but if their novel is not up to scratch then they will not receive many paid sales.

A very large percentage will be under £1o in total earnings and about 100,000 will earn just £10 to £100 a month. It is also estimated that 45,000 authors will earn from £100 to £500 a month and this is the section which I have found myself in with one novel so far.

5,000 authors are earning from £550 to just over £1000 a month, which is a good part time income. We then get into the higher earners with 4,000 people earning a liveable wage from over £1,000 to a very healthy £10,000 a month.

Now for the real earners which there are probably about a 1,000, these very successful authors are earning over £10,000 a month and will have a good following of readers who will purchase every new novel from that author. It is not always the case but it is quite obvious that the more books that you release, then the more money you will earn.

Pricing of your novel is also a governing factor on how much you will make, however, some very hight earners price their kindle books at just £1 where as others price at over £5. Your market is also really important and books that sell well in the US will of course have a far larger audience. You genre will also have an affect on your earnings, but if it is a niche market then you could ask a higher price as there will be less competition.

The most important factor to take into account is the quality of your work, you might get away with a few sales from a poorly written and edited novel, but you will not survive long term. Even though I personally have had a fair amount of sales so far, I am still having a professional editor re-editing Vantastic France, because despite having some great reviews others have pinpointed a few mistakes. This is one of the great benefits of publishing on kindle as you can easily re-tweak your work.

Promoting your work with your own blog and on Twitter, Facebook and the many websites where you can promote your novel will obviously help to get you noticed, this will kick-start sales and hopefully build up a readership for the future.

The  figures that I have quoted are rough guidelines, but it will give you an idea of where you stand if you have published a book. It will also give you a better understanding as a budding author as to what you could earn it you produced a good quality novel.

About Steve Bichard

I run French Classified and Property
This entry was posted in Book Sales, Revenue and Tax, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

19 Responses to Can you make money from publishing on Amazon

  1. joharris0n says:

    Great stats Steve and well done for reaching the £100-£500 a month mark!! 🙂

  2. Hi Jo, it gives a really good idea of where people are and what to aim for!

  3. Steph says:

    Thanks for an interesting and helpful article. It’s always good when authors share realistic information about their sales and earnings. Many would-be authors think they’ll be overnight millionaires! Even with a very good book, you won’t necessarily earn a great deal, especially if it’s a less popular genre. Your earnings are very impressive, Steve. I think my Amazon royalties have just made it into double figures now! I’ll have to check. I won’t be ordering the Rolls Royce just yet!

  4. Hi Steph
    I am not sure for how long I will receive a deposit in my bank account for over £100 a month, although the US sales are slow and that is on hold till it reaches $100.
    I do get sales everyday from 2 to 10 downloads and 4 to 6 paperbacks a month, I think I can drop KDP select when it ends and start looking at other markets.

    Jo introduced me to Buffer (use my link and we get some free posts) Buffer automatically tweets for you up to 10 a day for free. This will save a lot of time on standard tweets and there is more chance of others reading them, as they are spread out over the day,

    It takes up quite a lot of time marketing and I really need to concentrate on the new book, it’s amazing how much time we spend just getting the odd extra sale. However, I feel it is worth it in the long term.

  5. tincanman2010 says:

    So do those of us who purchased your book get an updated one?

    (Hope that’s not a cheeky question. I’m not bothered. But I am curious.)

    • It they want one then of course, it is something that must be taken into account when you have a re-edit. Although a re-edit is just changing simple errors, so the story line will not change and it happens quite a lot, but not everyone admits to it.

  6. DC Stultz says:

    A writer friend sent me the link to this and I, in turn, just ordered the Kindle edition. I read everything regarding France that I can find. LOL I was an American ex-pat in Toulouse for a year way back in 1968 and I had an excellent experience.

  7. HI DC thanks for your comment, I hope you enjoy my little novel.

  8. Kerry Dwyer says:

    Congratulations on your sales Steve. I really like the book and it rings so true, if tingue in cheek. I love your humour. It is good to read something realistic about what you can anticipate selling through Amazon. Thank you.

    • Sorry for the very late reply Kerry, I have been neglecting my blog trying to write my sequel.
      I think the figures show that many of us will earn a little pocket money from book sales, until we have been around quite a while and have a few good titles under our belt.
      The odd author will have an instant hit like 50 Shades of Grey, which seems to have one hell of a publicity machine behind it. A friend of mine recently read it and wondered what all the fuss was about, as she was not that impressed. However, she did buy it, as have many thousands of others.
      I am not sure if this proves that you have to be a brilliant author or an amazing promoter to end up selling thousand of novels, but it might give some budding authors the wrong impression that publishing a novel will give them instant fame and fortune.

  9. Pingback: 50 shades of grey or green! | Steve

  10. Kerry Dwyer says:

    Good luck with your second book. I am also trying to write another one but fiction this time. My first will be released on the 15th August. I have heard that 50 shades is writing by numbers with shagging. I haven’t read it myself so can’t comment.
    If I make one person smile I will feel that it has been worthwhile. If I make some pocket money I will be delighted.

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  12. caringdoula says:

    Thank you for posting this ! Do you know what percentage of the profits the author earns and how the copywrites work?

    • Hi
      Basically there are two scales on Amazon Kindle, 35% for a book below $2,99 and 70% for above , which is a very good rate compared to some paperback deals.
      Copy-writes I have no idea as my writing was my own, so I added a copy write at the front of the book, I think you can go further and register a copy-write if you feel someone might copy your work.

  13. caringdoula says:

    Ok, thanks so much!

  14. Jim Buie says:

    Thanks, Steve. But what is the source of your figures or the survey indicating that 1.1 million writers have uploaded work to Amazon through the self-publishing program, and that the vast majority will earn less than £100 a month? It would seem hardly worth the trouble for the vast majority. There was a different survey in the Guardian reporting slightly more positive results for self-published authors.

    • Hi Jim
      Thanks for your comment.
      As I said the figures were guidelines taken from an average of various sources, which to be honest I did not save the links to. I just wanted new authors to realise that they must not give up their day jobs just yet, unless they have produced the next 50 shades of grey, black, white or Sheds!

      However, what I did notice the Taleist report was taken in February 2012 but many authors saw a massive drop in sales in the latter half of 2012, even some quite top selling authors. This subject has been heavily discussed on the Amazon forum and reasons given were a hiccup in the Amazon sales reporting and too many free downloads. I think the latter is more the cause of the problem, plus many more books on the market.
      The Taleist report was taken from only 1007 authors, so like the sources that I used it is a rough guide. One big seller in the report would obviously make the averages higher, although it did say that the took a broad spectrum of authors. Only Amazon would be able to give us the exact figures.

      We all get excited seeing reports of massive selling e-books, but we do not see so much publicity give to average part-time authors who are writing for pocket money in the hope that they will produce the next big blockbuster.

      Taleist Report

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